Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra

Gallagher Bluedorn PAC, #17, 8201 Dakota Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50614


To educate, entertain and enrich the listeners by presenting the performances of highest quality.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra was founded in the fall of 1929 by G.T. Bennett, Director of the East Waterloo High School Orchestra; Ralph Pronk, director of the West Waterloo High School Orchestra; Cressy Whalen, then president of the Waterloo Musicians Union; and the late Myron Russell, emeritus head of the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa. In 1929 the orchestra was named the Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.

The September 19, 1929 edition of the Waterloo Courier carried the public announcement about the establishment of the orchestra to the community with an accompanying photograph featuring the 75 musicians.

Then, as now, community resources were solicited to underwrite the cost of the orchestra. Listed as charter "Sponsors" were the University Women's Club, the Business and Professional Women's Club, the B Natural Club and the Waterloo Supervisor's Club. Early "Endorsers" were Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, Y-Men's Clubs, American Legion and the Chamber of Commerce. The tradition of community giving continues as over the last 71 years, hundreds of businesses, foundations and individuals have been added to the list of original patrons who, through their generosity and civic pride, have helped finance the expenses of maintaining an outstanding orchestra in the communities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

The first concert was held at East High School, Thursday, February 6, 1930, with Mr. Bennet as conductor, sharing the honor with Mr. Pronk. This first concert featured two soloists: Mr. William E. Hayes, tenor, from the Iowa State Teachers College; and Myron Russell, English horn soloist, also from Iowa State Teachers College.

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